Monday, December 9, 2013

More notes from yesterday's DF session

A few more notes on yesterday's session:

MVP Voting Unsealed: MVP and +1 character point in the end went to Borriz, because he pushed for sending the servant wearing the black hat to touch the altar. He thought it was the key, but instead it merely got the disguised monster revealed and destroyed.

Exploration: My players have now reached or touched up to possibly 8 different levels or sub-levels, maybe even 9, including the surface ruins, depending on how you count and what of the places they've found are really levels, sublevels, or just different sections of existing levels. There are a lot more places they can go.

Bulldozing: The PCs have recently been cleaning up on the monsters without too much harm. Some of it is relative power - the PCs range from 300 to almost 400 points, and have been spending a lot of time up near the surface. That's where the much-less dangerous slimes, reeks, spiders, rats, scorpions, orcs, hobgoblins, gelatinous cubes, slugbeats) and so on are. There were more dangerous foes (wights, gargoyles, toxifiers, trolls, two ogres with some friendly gnolls and ape allies, some cultists) but those have been, for the most part, dealt with.

They've done some deeper pushes, and hit a few really hard slogs - the lizard man fight, the draugr, the wizard and his corpse-golems, some moderately hard fights where their firepower prevailed (the hobgoblins/siege beasts, the ropers) - and some fights they cleaned up on due to good tactics or appropriate magic (the fire-men, the ash spirits) or just sheer firepower (most of the rest).

They've also avoided the really nasty fights once they've realized with wasn't an easy kill and easy money - the draugr, the Lord of Spite (although they often plan to go after him, they haven't yet), the wizard, and a few others.

They are extremely, extremely prepared to dice up living/non-special melee foes. Borriz with Axe/Mace-28, Vryce with Two-Handed Sword-26 and a pile of parries to expend on himself and others, Chuck with Extra Attack and 3d+11 cutting damage and Kiai, etc., plus Galen and his stream of endless arrows. Some other treats are more difficult for them, and they've either dealt with them less well or just moved away from them. Combine that with picking their fights and for GURPS fights to allow for both disastrous defeat or total victory, and there you are.

It's tough to gauge a fight's impact, but I feel like the threat is mostly there. My experience has led me to change some as-yet-unmet monsters to be more or just differently challenging, of course.

But it's also a good example of a "downside" to megadungeon play, if you can call it that. Since the players can choose where to go, and when to come back, they will avoid the hard stuff and aim for the easy stuff.

Rope: Every adventurer needs some rope, and I need to think of every single trap or encounter in terms of "if they apply enough servants and rope, what happens?" Because they always will - create a noose, have some servants pull on the rope, what happens?


  1. There is an ongoing joke that rope is 'the' essential adventuring tool in my group.

    Not ten foot poles (they never use them), not food (they frequently rely on other sources, magic and scavenged, despite penalties for doing so), not caltrops, torches, mirrors, chalk, whetstones, spare sacks, picks, prybars or even mapping tools - as again, they hardy ever bring em, and the few who do rarely ever use them.

    But rope? Won't leave town without a dozen or so spare spools of the stuff. More encumbrance goes to rope than it does to armour for some characters! They make really good use of it, but its funny how its become the tool for every occasion. Their favourite variant being "a rogue on a rope", which appears to solve any issue that rope alone couldn't.

    1. Heh. My group discovered at one point that the advantage of a halfing rogue is that when you need to "rogue on a rope", the halfling only counts as light encumbrance to the dwarf fighter and can easily and quickly retrieved from whatever awful situation he's in. Human "rogue on a ropes" tend to weigh too much.

    2. "What the hell are you doing?"
      "Fishing for traps. Why?"

    3. I've mentioned before that I have never in my gaming life seen "we tied a rope around him so we can pull him to safety" work out in any positive fashion except in actual climbing situations. I'm a bit surprised anyone has, really.

    4. It's not so much a case of trying to pull the rogue backwards out of a bad situation. It's a case of too much use of the Z dimension that leads to the rogue frequently being suspended over something with a rope to complete some important task (even if that task is just exploration).

      I'm not sure I've ever seen my group try and pull each other along a corridor or other flat area using rope. Although I have seen shoves, air jets and a bunch of other enforced movement to "aid" moving other PCs about the place. This has not always been productive, or even wanted, but it is generally entertaining to watch.

  2. You can carrot and stick your players into going down faster.

    You already do to some extent with the xp bonuses

    1. The XP bonus has been a wash, mostly. It drove them down to level 2 well enough, but the next level down was a visit, get XP, not come back for a long time. It doesn't drive continuous exploration.

      Setting a different bar for "profitable" trips might. It's a low bar right now, even when I double it for 300+ point characters. It might need to keep going up, so someone like Vryce needs to push down deep and find serious loot to get full xp for the session.

    2. Some ideas:

      No xp if you don't go down x levels in Y sessions.

      Timed quests with high rewards.

      High level NPCs that recruit the PCs to come down to the lower level with them.

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